Braheem Wahid, a Kent State University sociology major and Theodore Roosevelt High School graduate, is aiming to embark across the Atlantic and learn what connects people in different cultures to iconic pop star Michael Jackson, and share his love of the performer back.
Wahid plans to travel to London in August, the same time as the Olympics, and find people from across the world who are drawn to Jackson.
“Everybody loves Michael Jackson: White, black, pink, yellow, short, tall,” Wahid said. “My job is to go and see why. Is it because of similar experiences in life that these individuals are like Michael Jackson? Did they connect on experience?”
Wahid said in his study, The Sociological Analysis of Michael Jackson’s World Wide Fan Base, he will connect with fans, but look outside of the singing and dancing to see if interviewees share another common bond with Jackson.
While watching Jackson on television at age six, Wahid said he became fascinated with dancing and taught himself how to perform by watching the star. And, dance is the tool he plans to use to find the subjects of his study. With four friends backup dancing, and being in London at the time of the Olympics, Wahid is confident he’ll find plenty of draw by performing the songs and moves of Jackson.
Wahid is fundraising until August to fund his travel and study. He’s arranged five car washes, on June 16, June 30, July 14, July 28 and Aug. 4 at the Valvoline at 403 E. Main St. in Kent to raise money. He also plans to work with AmeriCorps for eight weeks over the summer and save his earnings for London, and has set up a bank account through Huntington Bank for donations. Donations can be accepted under the account “Braheem Wahid,” number 02591246119.
Wahid said he hopes to gather data from at least 100 people while in London, and share the findings of his study at the North Central Sociology Association’s 2013 annual conference in Indianapolis, Ind.
“I think my research is going to be bomb,” he said.